Most of the folks here in Mt. Easter treated the Tasla’s with the same kind of attitude that they’d give a white family. There were a few families that didn’t take too well to a black family moving in up here, like the Stevenses and the Hatleys, but the majority of folks didn’t care one way or another. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and I reckon that applies to people of any color. But I imagine they had it pretty hard those first few years, harder than most. Hank, yeah, he was always a pretty good boy.
Today, after school ended, Ella and I took our time walking home. We both had chores to do, but neither of us really wanted to go home. We wanted to spend time together. I’m not sure why she is my friend, but I’m glad that she is. And while most of my classmates are kind to me, only two of them are really friendly: Ella and Jimmy McNayre. The rest of them either tolerate me or openly dislike me. But we walked leisurely, talking and laughing and enjoying each other’s company. I can tell by the way she looks at me that she likes me, but for the life of me I can’t fathom why. People look down on that sort of thing, and I don’t want her to be looked down on by no one. Even though we got in trouble when we got home, it was worth it to spend some extra time with her.
There was a man and a woman, both older than me, both dressed in white coats. I was in a room filled with all sorts of strange devices. I was strapped to a bed and held against my will. The woman was harsh and ruthless, speaking to the man with contempt in her voice, and in turn to me like I was an animal that could not comprehend her words. Indeed, what she said I did not understand. The man padded my arm gently and spoke to me soothingly, but he did not attempt to free me from my restraints. Some sort of loud beeping put the room in a frenzy and they began running about to different machines, trying to stop the shrill noise. I struggled to rise but could not. All I could do was move my head about slightly and look around, curious but confused. It seems that more often than not now I dream of these machines. The word for them is on the tip of my tongue, but lost in the fog of my weary mind. I cannot recall. Already the dream is fading and I am forgetting it. I remember the word TESLA embossed on the side of one of the machines. I remember smelling smoke near the end. I remember a woman’s scream and an incredibly loud bang, louder than a rifle shot. Everything was chaos, and I was unable to move.
The Tasla family came to Mt. Easter in the Fall of 1880. It was suspected that the family won its freedom after the War ended, but no one knew for sure. Some said that the family was indeed slaves, but their owners treated them with kind hearts and compassion. Others said that the family had never been in servitude and actually immigrated to America in pursuit of the American Dream. Mr. Tasla was an educated and skilled man who had worked in construction, engineering, and manufacturing. In Mt. Easter his considerable talents were limited to mining. Mrs. Tasla was several years younger than her husband, still in the prime of her thirties, and her occupation in Mt. Easter was namely taking care of the house. She was also with child when she arrived in Mt. Easter, much to Hank and Mr. Tasla’s excitement. The family lived in a spare room of Pastor Andrew’s home until they could build their own house, which was completed within two years of their arrival. During that time, the Tasla’s and the Andrew’s became dear friends.
I’ve known the Thompson family since I was a young girl. Me and Lynne grew up together and have always been around each other. Johnny was a little older than us, but not by much. Near the end of our schooling Lynne got married to Johnny and a few months later they had their first child, John Jr. A couple of years later came the twins, Richard and James, and eventually Ella. She was brought up in a house full of boys, and it’s no wonder that she’s a tough girl. I’ve watched all the Thompson children grow up, partially with a jealous eye, as I always hoped that Johnny would choose me over Lynne. But the Lord saw fit to bless me with a wonderful husband of my own, and I know that He knows what’s best for me.
I’ve had these vivid dreams for as long as I can remember, but the idea of writing them down only started a year or so ago. And since I dream every night, I’ve gone through several journals. Back when I first started talking about my dreams to folks they looked at me like I was soft in the head, or like I was spewing childish babble. Sure, I was young, but it was amazing. The dreaming has been an integral part of my life, and as such, it is part of who I am. How can I not talk about it? It didn’t take long for me to stop talking about them in public, to pretend like they didn’t happen. Even Mother and Father frown when I mention them. Ella is the only one I can go to. She’s the only one who will listen to me, but I can’t tell her everything.